Commerce, TX – Online reports show that as of June Commerce is an active area for ghost sightings. Among the states logging 24,646 national, Texas leads all other states with 3,262 hauntings recorded, followed by 2,063 in California and 1,140 in Ohio. Puerto Rico trailed all other American affiliates with only 52 incidents while Delaware logged 53 and Wyoming 73.
Brief reports of encounters with the paranormal always omit any identification of the source or use pseudonyms such as Ghost sister 13. Other haunted towns near Commerce, according to online reports, were listed as Campbell, Ben Franklin, Wolfe City, Cumby, Klondike, Ladonia, Pecan Gap, Greenville, Lone Oak and Brashear. Shadows were cast on the accuracy of the testimonies of ghost activity when it was noted that the reported distances of various towns from Commerce were several miles off the standard mileage. Ben Franklin and Wolfe City were listed as an underestimated nine miles away from Commerce, and Ladonia as ten miles. Perhaps the distances represent ghost miles rather than human miles.
A typical ghost sighting report for Commerce begins, "In small town Commerce during my youth in our quest for adventure my friends and I would sometimes walk through old cemetaries [sic] or abandoned farm houses late at night. One night we returned to a favorite of ours a small House North of town off hwy 11 on an old dirt road. It was my birthday Friday the 13th of November yeah really. There were enough of us to Wake the dead for sure (two car loads)."
Similar accounts are given from other states. For example, a ghostchaser in Merrill, Wisconsin, submitted these unedited statements, "Let me tell you of the Haunted house in the 6th ward at 1508 w. 8th Street. There is a history of repeated haunting amongst the last six tenants." From Weatherford, Texas, came this unaltered report: "Paranormal activity has always been something has always been something that has occured around my House Hold growing up."
The most widely circulated paranormal story in Commerce is based on sightings in the Hall of Languages on the A&M-Commerce campus following a Saturday morning incident half a century ago. A youngster exploring the rooftop stepped on a dirty skylight he had mistaken for solid material, falling to his death at the bottom of the stairwell below. Recent student midnight vigils have attempted to intercept the spirits roaming the building.
In Jefferson, a tourist mecca and time capsule of the old South, ghost sightings are a long-standing tradition going back to Stephen Spielberg's uncanny experiences at the historic Excelsior House, where he checked in looking for Texas movie locations and promptly checked out when unexplained paranormal activities began. So popular have the constantly multiplying and unexplained events associated with ghost sightings become that an enterprising tour guide meets tourists after dark on weekends in front of the historical museum to lead visitors, for a fee, to certified hauntings in the town. Jeffersonians take the ghosts seriously as a tourism potential. The Commerce Chamber of Commerce has not yet dealt with the benefits of ghostchasing in its community.
At a recent session of the Cowhill Forum, a coffee-drinking fraternity, the subject of Commerce ghost reports came to the attention of the group. Jerald Thomas immediately confessed his involvement with the foremost eerie in the region. It involves a dripping wet young woman, said to have drowned in White Lake in Dallas. She is seen regularly on the shores of the reservoir hailing motorists for rides. Doug R. Rainey, a prominent member of the forum, promptly reported that the only ghost he is concerned about is the Holy Ghost, central to his presentations in the Full Gospel businessmen Training programs. Other card-carrying members of the forum were suddenly spookingly silent.